Kate Meredith can finally take a deep breath.
For the past two years Meredith has been chasing her dream. A standout for the Ridge Meadow Rage and Pride for more than eight years, the 17-year-old softball star just signed a four-year athletic and academic scholarship to attend Concordia University in Portland, Oregon starting in the fall of 2018.
“The process has been long and stressful,” said Meredith, “but finally signing the letter has made everything worth it. It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
Meredith said it wasn’t the countless hours of practice or the thousands of kilometers traveling to games that was as exhausting as was the marketing of herself to potential schools that made the process so time consuming.
“The recruiting process just takes so much time. You have to sell yourself to coaches and there are so many options to consider in Canada and the U.S.,” she said.
Creating self promotional videos and compiling stats is one thing. But Meredith said making sure she played in tournaments in front of college coaches and recruiters was also part of the process. Being able to showcase her skills live was a major factor in landing the scholarship.
Another part of the process was dedicating more time to developing her game.
In a decision that has paid dividends, Meredith and her parents Paula and Kelly, decided that going into her Grade 11 year she would leave Maple Ridge Secondary and transfer to the Yale Softball Academy.
Meredith would spend her mornings on the ball field while pursuing her education goals in the afternoon.
“Training every day has certainly improved my game.”
Meredith also spent the last two years playing softball with the White Rock Renegades after her team in Maple Ridge dissolved. There, she said she benefited greatly from the coaching of Charlotte Dolan of the Renegades, who was also a coach at Yale, along with Yale’s director and coach Dave Paetkau.
Meredith also said that the past two years at Yale will also help ramp up her intensity level once she starts playing NCAA second division softball in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
She said the decision to choose Concordia ultimately came down to a mix of the softball program as well as finding the right fit for her education goals. Meredith will be majoring in special education.
“It’s a great program and when I visited I really got that feeling like this was my school, it’s where I’m supposed to be,” she said.
She was also impressed with meeting her coaches and players at Concordia.
“Everyone was super nice. The camaraderie between the team and the coaches was something that really appealed to me.”
Another contributing factor was the proximity to home. While there were other options, being within a drivable distance to her home in Maple Ridge was also important.
While marketing yourself is important, skill usually wins the day. Standing in at 6-feet, one-inch, Meredith said her talent at first base and her power at bat is also what helped seal the deal.
As for relaxing, she said it will be short-lived as she can’t wait to start the next chapter in her softball career. She said she’s incredibly grateful to her parents, who were literally the driving force behind her success.
“I could see in their eyes and could tell they were just very proud. It was a long process for them too. I’m very grateful.”